Kenya’s varied weaving styles match the diversity of available materials and intended uses. Weavers use many types of grasses, palm, bamboo, and reeds to create floor mats, bowls, and other containers—even some roof and wall coverings. Weavers in southwest Kenya are now also using the invasive water hyacinth that is clogging much of Lake Victoria to make baskets and other household objects from this environmental menace.
Teresia Mbula Kimei, a member of the Kaunti Women’s Group, learned the art of basketry and weaving from her mother. With time she became a skilled weaver and began making baskets and kiondos (hand-woven bags made of sisal) to sell. These crafts have cultural, functional, and economic value, and basket weavers usually learn this art from family and community members.
A native of Kisumu, Lucy Agutu Okudo works with Zingira Nyanza Community Crafts, a community-based organization that coordinates the efforts of local artisans to produce recycled and locally sourced handicraft products. She is the head of Zingira Nyanza’s weaving department and conducts trainings with local people who wish to pursue a career in sustainable arts and crafts.
Apollo Omondi Omware is an artisan from Kisumu. He works with Zingira Nyanza Community Crafts, a community-based organization that coordinates the efforts of local artisans from all tribes living in the Kisumu area to produce recycled and locally sourced handicraft products. His specialty is paper crafts.